Congressman John Fleming tours VA hospital

By Stephanie Claytor

Published 07/01 2014 07:00PM

Updated 07/01 2014 07:50PM

Congressman John Fleming tours Overton Brooks VA Medical Center Tuesday morning, after allegations of a secret waiting list surfaces.


Congressman Fleming said he was briefed on the hospital's scheduling and took a tour of the place.

He said he's impressed with the level of care at the facility.


“Based on everything I see, it's consistent with what I think is modern medicine and the best quality, the best practices,” said U.S. Rep. John Fleming, (R ) District 4.


Interim director Toby Mathew explained how the secret waiting list allegation surfaced.

He said there was a spreadsheet created in August 2013 used to transfer veterans into mental health care teams.  According to Mathew, the spreadsheet was created because the Vista scheduling system was not flexible in its design, to handle the client review notes. Mathew said these clients were being treated while the staff worked to assign them health care teams, versus just a physician caring for them.


“The list that you saw was a snapshot in May,” said Mathew.  “All of those patients that needed review were completed in July and we're going to continue to do reviews for those patients in that Behavioral Health Interdisciplinary Program.



Dr. Fleming said he wishes the private sector could follow the medical team approach like the VA, where the physicians, physician assistants, and nurse practicioners all work as a team to care for patients.


Hospital officials are waiting for a second audit. They’re not sure when it is.


“I think we need to have the second Investigator General evaluation, and I'd like to know what they have to say, before I would call for any further action,” said Fleming. “But at this point, as you can tell, we haven't been able to verify any of the claims of the whistleblowers at this time.”


Fleming hasn’t seen a spike in complaints about the VA hospital at his office but if you've had a problem with your care, he encourages you to come forward. Call the Shreveport Office at (318) 798-2254 or the Bossier City office at (318) 549-1712.

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